Developing a Scale of Environmental Efficacy

By Brittany C. Sellers, Stephen M. Fiore and James Szalma.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice

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Abstract: In this paper, we summarize past research regarding the relationship between environmental attitudes and time perspective with pro-environmental behaviors (PEB), identify the construct environmental efficacy, and describe the development of a scale designed to measure it. The results of our initial scale validation study demonstrate a high level of internal reliability. Convergent validity was demonstrated between ecocentric attitudes, future time perspective, and higher levels of motivation, as well as between anthropocentric attitudes, present time perspective, and amotivation. Discriminant validity was demonstrated between ecocentric and anthropocentric attitudes, as well as between future time perspective, ecocentric attitudes, and amotivation. Areas for future research are identified, including specifying these relationships and developing a model that incorporates these various factors and the explicit relationships between them. The potential benefits of this research include, on a small, proximal scale, encouraging environmental efficacy, and on a larger, distal scale, advancing collective efficacy and furthering the widespread adoption of sustainable ecocentric behaviors.

Keywords: Efficacy, Pro-environmental Behavior, Environmental Attitudes, Ecocentric, Anthropocentric, Motivation, Time Perspective

The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp.169-195. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 681.687KB).

Brittany C. Sellers

Graduate Student, Applied Experimental and Human Factors Psychology Doctoral Program, The University of Central Florida, Orlando, USA

Brittany Sellers is pursuing her doctorate in human factors, a field of study that is focused on the human user at the center of any system and often aimed at improving design in ways that increase productivity, safety, and enjoyment for the user. She is currently working with Dr. Stephen Fiore in a line of research that applies this concept toward sustain-ability research; while it is clear that humans would benefit in the long run from sustainable practices, an approach that caters to the needs and preferences of the ‘users’ involved will likely maximize participation in these practices and increase the likelihood of reaping the long-term rewards. Recent projects have focused on exploring the relationships between environmental attitudes, efficacy, time perspective, and pro-environmental behaviors as well as how these attitudes and behaviors are influenced by narrative film.

Dr. Stephen M. Fiore

Laboratory Director/Associate Professor of Cognitive Sciences, Cognitive Sciences Laboratory, Department of Philosophy, The University of Central Florida, Orlando, USA

Stephen M. Fiore, Ph.D., is faculty with the University of Central Florida’s Cognitive Sciences Program in the Department of Philosophy and Director of the Cognitive Sciences Laboratory at UCF’s Institute for Simulation and Training. He earned his Ph.D. degree in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, Learning Research and Development Center. He maintains a multidisciplinary research interest that incorporates aspects of the cognitive, social, and computational sciences in the investigation of learning and performance in individuals and teams. He is co-editor of recent volumes on Shared Cognition (2012), Macrocognition in Teams (2008), Distributed Learning (2007), Team Cognition (2004), and he has co-authored over 100 scholarly publications in the area of learning, memory, and problem solving at the individual and the group level. As Principal Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator he has helped to secure and manage approximately $15 Million in research funding from organizations such as the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Department of Homeland Security.

Dr. James Szalma

Assistant Professor, Psychology Department, The University of Central Florida, Orlando, USA

James Szalma is an associate professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Central Florida. He received a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Michigan in 1990 and an MA in applied experimental/human factors psychology in 1997 from the University of Cincinnati. He received a Ph.D. in applied experimental/human factors psychology in 1999 from the University of Cincinnati. His primary research interests include human performance of cognitively demanding signal detection tasks, and the workload and stress associated with cognitive performance. He is also interested in the individual differences that contribute to variation in performance and stress response. His lab, the Performance Research Laboratory (PeRL), is currently investigating how operator characteristics and task characteristics interact to influence performance in systems utilizing adaptive automation, as well as the validity of Fuzzy Signal Detection Theory for performance evaluation in threat detection.